Shortly on Naantali and Härmälä gorge.

Blogroll, Finland, Picture a day, Traveling, Turku

I will be really brief when it comes to telling you about Naantali, a traditional spa-town close to Turku. It is what a spa-town should be like – cosy, small, touristy and close to the water. Nowadays most tourists come to Naantali to take either a fake steam-boat cruise or go to the Moomin theme park. We were not interested in either, just walked around and visited the tiny and somehow unimpressive museum.

But Naantali, that is off-white, lace and beige. Wood and cobble stones. Sea and ice-cream.

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And then I HAD to go and visit the Härmälä gorge, ie. a big crack in rock. It was great to walk/crawl through it, but impossible to take decent pictures due to an impossible angle – camera lens combination. If you want to know more, take a peek here. I would definitely recommend to visit if you are around Turku, and please do so during some unpopular times as the crack might get crowded during summer weekends (and totally empty in winter). Mass tourism, hey.

The sunniest place in Finland.

Blogroll, Finland, Pampas, Picture a day, Traveling

Is in Österbotten, more specifically, it is the town of Vaasa. It quickly became one of my top towns in Finland, and yes, it should be the place which receives the most sunshine in Finland. I only spend there a day and did not take any pictures, just used the sun thing as a click-bait.

Nah I did take some pics, like these from the Edvinin puisto – Edvin’s park, a smallish recreational park filled with amateur scrape metal sculptures just like these:

The following batch of photos, in fact, is taken in Närpes, where our tomatoes and cucumbers and flowers grow, and to where large quantities of immigrants move to work. So this would be the most representative photograph of the area:

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Another interesting sight would be these church stalls – yep, over 120 wooden stalls for the church visitors’ horses. They were in surprising good conditions, although I cannot really think of a good way to use these. One stood open so I took a peek – and it was empty, then I tried to spy in the wood cracks and none of the stalls seems to be in any kind of use at the moment…

A couple of Swedish miles (one Swedish mile = 10 km) away from Vaasa I drove and walked around the coast line. It was great as usual, I mean this blog is over-flooding with blue-green landscape sceneries and boats and alike.

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While in Närpes I also visited Kristinestad a bit – a tiny picturesque town with a historic centre and the curious Carlsro museum. The wooden villa (which is not electrified by the way) belonged to a certain Carlström, local tradesman and ship-maker of the late 19th and early 20th century. The business did not go that well in the end and he shot himself in 1910. To cut the long story shot, the villa stood abandoned for some time and deteriorated accordingly and was sold in an auction in the early 1960s for close to nothing to a local weirdo. The idea was that in the worst case he could use the building material as fire wood, but fortunately, he did not do that, instead, he filled the villa with all kinds of old/antique/strange/novelty/curious objects. It really is crammed with random stuff! Well, come and see for yourself, the piles of pots, books, dolls, mirrors, shoemaker accessories look particularly interesting in the omnipresent gloomy dusk…

 

… while the house itself is really fresh and inviting on the outside …

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… for the most part at least.

And as you can see from the pictures, the sunshine was abundant, so there is something to the sunniest-place-gossip!

We have leaves. Updated.

Blogroll, Finland, Helsinki, Lifestyle, Traveling

On the trees, also a slight sunburn on the shoulder, the 4th place in the ice hockey world cup and I’m terribly sleepy.

I will just leave this summerly pictures hang in here and add some commentary later. I’m sorry, I have an early start tomorrow again 😦

Have a pleasant start into the brand new week!

Update 25.5. – here are the comments 😉 The first couple of pictures are from a walk around the Rajasaari island. It is located in Töölö, so reasonably central and quite fancy, but it is in a shameful state (not reflected in the pictures). Covered in trash, boating stuff rusty snowmobiles and generally neglected. The dog park is awesome though, and so was the warm spring evening.

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The following takes are from Open House Helsinki – my top visits took place in Thursday and Friday and I was unable to attend. But on Saturday we made it to the Villas of the Valtiosaari island. These largeish, in some cases opulent (think luxurious sauna and a tennis court) wooden villas are mostly owned by the city of Helsinki and occasionally rented out to companies or registered organisations. You can imagine what this means: most of the villas stand empty and slowly deteriorate. Well managed! The whole island would make a lovely place to live – should we have a boat – but we were all surprised how messy and neglected the island was.

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A well-painted Finnish lion in one of the villas.

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This is a hydroplane hangar actually.

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Tiled stove detail.

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The summer church/chapel.

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We got a free boat ride to the city centre! That was the best part of the trip, minus the sunburn (I KNOW.), but look what we saw on the way: a sailboat nursery!

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The last picture is from Porkkala, see the tower on the right? That’s a lighthouse I’m so much visiting soon!

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Va(a)sa and Ostrobothnia.

Architecture, Blogroll, Finland, Lifestyle, Pampas, Traveling

A large part of my fieldwork takes place in Ostrobothnia – around the towns of Va(a)sa, Jakobstad, Karleby and similar. And the region quickly became one of my favourite places in the world; I’m not going to beat around the bush, to a large extent I would attribute this to the large percentage of Swedish speakers and their culture present…

… or it just could be due to the fact that I actually met with and got to talk to really friendly people;) but hey, the landscape (especially the rural areas and Kvarken archipelago) and urbanscape is worth a visit!

First a few shots from the town of Vasa… the very city centre is dominated by concrete. But there is a lot of wood and history just outside the centre.

As the destiny wanted I found myself at Stundars open air museum one night. It was closed for public and beautifully lit by the setting sun.

 

And of course I was criss-crossing the urban areas, mostly around Malax municipality:

(I totally love the following shot:)

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One lovely day I had some spare time to kill, so I decided to take a short trip to Strömsö – to get the glimpse of perfection. For those outside of Finland, Strömsö is the name of this Finnish-Swedish show for people loving their homes. You will find all kinds of interesting recipes, instructions and home-improvement tips. The show takes place in  the- yes, Strömsö masion – just off Vasa, and the whole point of the show is that… that nothing ever goes wrong on the show. You will get 30 minutes of perfect living in a beautiful old wooden house (and a modern sauna and a modern shed with all kinds of tools and equipment where all the project shootings take place – #CHEATING!). And witness the making a lot of unnecessary decoration items… Home bliss!

And of course I had to share the beauty of pampas (Österbotten) with V. – and we decided to spend a calm evening in a Fisherman’s house (for real) in Molpe, Malax. The largest part of the trip went to visiting the Bergö archipelago and picking lingonberry. Amazing. Peaceful. Smelling and feeling great.

On the way back to Helsinki we passed – accidentally almost – village of Harrström. And it was a pleasant visit, despite the rain! We visited the windmill – the largest functioning wooden windmill in Finland, and it was so AWESOME. I mean I never got to see the windmill from inside. The experience felt so genuine – last visitors before us visited the mill in late July, there was dust and mouse droppings and middlings and other objects typical for… uhm… milling wheat, duh. Sounds gross, but it was awesome. So was the bridge built in 1898 (and still in use) and the whole vibe of a sea-near village. Definitely worth a visit should you be driving along the coast.

It was a lot of fun – and so has this week been as well. I enrolled in a weaving course and I think I found a new hobby. Want to see the result of my week efforts? Check out my instragram! (@milleristine)

And most importantly, take good care of yourselves. Life is way too brittle.

Savonia.

Art, Blogroll, Finland, Lifestyle, Traveling

I realised that I would probably burn out of life if I skipped all the travelling, walking, exploring, sitting in the car and observing the landscape. I know it is one of the thickets clichés out there, but travelling inspires me and calms me down so much. We went to Savonlinna this time to see La Bohéme by Teatre Regio Torino and it was awesome; the theatre group was unforgettable, the venue (Savonlinna castle) magical and the company great. Oh and we did take a little walk around the centre; it is not beautiful, but it is somehow genuine. Little businesses, market square where you could actually buy local produced goods – oh and the town is totally empty on Saturday nights!

The cultural life (opera) after that was neatly confronted with the wilderness of the archipelago and the summer cabin life. Small municipalities, a lot of water in all its elements. Green, lively and giving.

And in the end we had to stop in Parikkala and check out the local statue park. I guess everything has been said about the park and its father, local artist Veijo Rönkkönen – all left to say is that… try imagining walking onto one of those concrete statues in winter (note the teeth, eyes, etc.!).

A rather refreshing trip with an unexpected ending.

Hello August.

Blogroll, Finland, Helsinki, Traveling

We said goodbye to July – and to Finnish holiday season – in Rauma and Sammallahti, a UNESCO-protected Bronze Age burial site. The weather was perfect, the number of fellow tourists was close to zero and the atmosphere was so fitting to the otherwise stressful life(style).

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Oh and we did pop to Forum Marinum in Turku! You will be able to read more about it on my other blog; let’s say that it is a large naval museum centre. And it is awesome. This rediscovered love for the sea and freedom shows.

And! As literally everyone based in Finland have noticed, we got those public transport bikes in Helsinki a few months back, jippee, finally we made it to the civilised European capitals!

FullSizeRender (1)Picture: Rantapallo.fi

I haven’t tried them myself, but they seem to be quite straightforward to use. All seems wonderful – let’s explore Helsinki on bike, it is fast and convenient and fun… and pretty cheap. But being an active urban cyclist myself, I cannot stop wondering about certain issues:

Let’s start with a little applied anthropology: who would be a typical person using these bikes? Those who are really interested in cycling and have a good mental map of cycling routes in Helsinki probably have and use a (lighter and faster) bike of their own. The typical person would probably borrow the bike on extempore basis. Hardly they would be carrying their own helmet, and it is reasonable to assume that they won’t have much clue about cycling rules, customs and routes in Helsinki. Quite often these people would be seeking a cheap and fun way home from some kind of social gathering. Read: the cyclist may be as well a bit drunk.

I was wondering whether the Helsinki City Transport has thought of this, have they noticed increase in cycling incidents in the past few months? The bikes have been around for several months now, it may be time to do go through some numbers?

And you guys, please keep cycling safely;)

Copenhagen and around.

Blogroll, Likes, Traveling

I just got back from my first stay in Denmark (how embarrassing). I spent a week enjoying life, brains and people in Helsinge, and a few days being a tourist and taking pictures in Copenhagen and around. And now I feel so refreshed even my migraines have withdrawn somehow (touch wood), so full of ideas and new and renewed connections. I wish every one of you could feel the same, surely the world would become a more enjoyable place to live in.

*end of post-Denmark tears*

I have noticed it has actually started to get dark in Finland – the winter is coming, next week we have August already. So please let me share some truly summery Danish moments with you.

First, there is this really random mosaic from Copenhagen. It is a lovely place to visit and to live, for sure.

And it gets slightly more touristy…

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… and more colourful, too!

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And slightly weird..

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Also we visited a few others places. Helsingør (Elsinore), for example – yeah, the Hamlet castle.

Or the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde.

And the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art: that was awesome. An exciting museum of a manageable size, park with more artwork, really good café (they have an espresso machine but do not ask for an espresso, they don’t make/serve them. I know.) and a BEACH!

This has never meant to be a travel blog. I’m not the best person to give advice on where to eat or what to see or do, I just love to observe and suck in the atmosphere and, well, get something out of the trip (sure, I also love to buy bracelets and postcards and chocolates (and give them to my friends and family).

You can do all that in Denmark for weeks – there is always something new to surprise you. Like the neon signs (neon, no LED) above the river. The Free Town of Christiania. The delicious food, sandwiches. The chocolate you put on warm toast (good for Nutella haters like myself). The sea. The beaches around. The galleries. The design. The parks.

I believe that Copenhagen is – just like the rest of Scandinavia – a perfect summer holiday destination. It is THE time to visit, you will most probably get a great dose of refreshing summer, sunny and warm yet not too hot. You can always travel to the warm destination after the main season and still have an awesome time after all… (and who still wants to be the part of the tourist crowd in the 21st century?).